10 Hollywood stock market movies you must watch

10 Hollywood stock market movies you must watch


We’d all rather watch a movie rather than study. But what if there was a way to learn through movies? If you’re interested in the stock market, then check out our list of the best stock market movies. 


Several of these movies are based on real-life incidents, and those that aren’t will still give you a lot to think about. 


They’re packed with insight in every scene and every dialogue. 


Let’s dive in.


1. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)


Rated: A   Genre: Comedy, Drama, Biography  Duration: 2H 59M


Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie 


The film depicts the rise and fall of a major figure involved in the American stock market and how he defrauded numerous investors. 


Plot: The film centres around Jordan Belfort who founds a brokerage firm in the 1990s. Through unethical practices, the brokerage manages to defraud wealthy investors out of millions of dollars. The central question of the film is whether Jordan and his cronies get away with it.

Takeaway: You need to watch this film because it underlines the importance of investing in only trusted and reputed securities.

2. The Big Short (2015) 

Rated: A   Genre: Comedy, Drama  Duration: 2H 10M


Cast: Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrel 


It’s about the few investors who predicted the crash of the housing market in the US in 2008.


Plot: Michael Burry realises that too many housing loans may go un-repaid. He invests more than $1 billion of his investors’ money into buying credit default swaps. Other players in the stock market take notice of his actions and also bet against the American economy. 

Takeaway: You will learn a lot about market crashes through this movie and why it’s important to understand fundamentals.   

3. Wall Street (1987)

Rated: A  Genre: Drama  Duration: 2H 5M


Cast: Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen 


How far will you go for greed? 


Plot: Bud Fox is an emerging Wall Street broker working hard and doing whatever he can to reach the top. He comes into contact with corporate raider Gordon Gekko and the two decide to get involved in insider trading. Bud soon gets embroiled in too many underhand schemes and threatens the livelihood of not just himself but also his scrupulous father. 

Takeaway: You will find out why insider trading is wrong and what not to do when practising as a trader.   

4. Trading Places (1983) 

Rated: A  Genre: Comedy  Duration: 1H 56M


Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy 


What if your bosses are out to get you? 


Plot: Executive Louis Winthorpe III works for successful stock brokers Mortimer and Randolph Duke. He is framed for a crime that he did not commit and street-smart hustler Billy Ray Valentine is placed in his position. Winthorpe and Billy Ray realise what’s happening and take steps to catch the Dukes. 

Takeaway: This light-hearted comedy will help you learn that not everything is not always as it seems. It’s important to not trust people blindly in the world of trading.      

5. Money Monster (2016) 

Rated: A  Genre: Thriller, Drama  Duration: 1H 38M


Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’ Connel 


A look at how investment advice can often go wrong.  


Plot: Lee Gates is a stock market guru who runs a show called Money Monster in which he provides stock market analysis and stock picking tips. One day, a viewer storms into his studio with a gun saying that he lost all his money because he listened to Money Monster. The movie is about how Lee Gates and his producer deal with the threat. 

Takeaway: This is an important movie for any trader because it teaches how essential it is to manage risk when trading.   

6. Inside Job (2010) 

Rated: UA  Genre: Documentary  Duration: 1H 48M 


Cast: Matt Damon (Narrator) 


An in-depth look at the 2008 financial crisis.  


Plot: The 2008 financial crisis caused widespread financial stress, not just in the US but around the world. Director Charles Ferguson takes his lens to cover what went on behind the scenes before the crash and tries to figure out who was responsible for upending so many lives.  

Takeaway: You will gain a new appreciation for how delicate the financial markets are and how to conduct themselves responsibly.


7. The Wizard of Lies ‎(2017)

Rated: UA  Genre: Drama, Crime  Duration: 2H 13M


Cast: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Alessandro Nivola.  


An inside look at one of the largest financial frauds in history.


Plot: In 2008, the US found out about one of the largest Ponzi schemes and scams ever perpetrated. And the man behind the scam? A one-time NASDAQ chairman. This film fictionalises a true story and takes you deep within the maze created by this fraudster.  


Takeaway: You will understand why SEBI makes the rules that it does and why financial regulation is so important for the markets.

8. Rogue Trader (1999) 

Rated: UA  Genre: Drama  Duration: 1H 41M


Cast: Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel, Betsy Brantley 


Do not go rogue with someone else’s money.  


Plot: A young executive joins a bank and is placed in a position of responsibility. He is in charge of handling investments for a branch of the bank. He sees the Asian markets roaring and decides to take large and risky bets without reporting to his superiors. The rest of the movie is about how he deals with the consequences.   

Takeaway: If you’re struggling with risk management, this movie will be the kick in the pants that you need.

9. Margin Call (2011)


Rated: A  Genre: Drama, Mystery, and Thriller  Duration: 1H 49M


Cast: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons


The 2008 financial crisis, on steroids.   


Plot: An independent analyst uncovers information about illegal dealings at an investment firm. The key players at the investment firm start taking drastic measures to keep him from going public.    

Takeaway: This movie can teach you a thing or two about analysing before investing.

10. Barbarians at the Gate (1993)


Rated: A   Genre: Drama  Duration: 1H 46M


Cast: James Garner, Jonathan Pryce, Joanna Cassidy


An investor faces tough competition from even bigger investors in the battle for control over a tobacco company.    


Plot: The President of RJR Nabisco wants to buy the company but as soon as news breaks out, other major competitors get involved. The question is, who will end up owning this tobacco empire?     

Takeaway: What’s a leveraged buyout? Watch and find out.

Wrapping up 


A lot of these movies teach you about what not to do rather than what to do. These movies are a great way for budding investors to get a feel for the stock markets and see how things work. Since many of these movies are inspired by real-life events, you can get a sense of the lay of the land in the real world. 

Another great way to combine learning and entertainment is to practice the do’s and don’ts of trading by playing a stock market game. Check out TradingLeagues, which is a fantasy stock trading app that allows you to compete with others on stock market games and earn rewards.